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Golf: Matt Fitzpatrick's Heritage win further proves Major credentials

Matthew Fitzpatrick's win at the RBC Heritage on Sunday was another sign that he is heading in the right direction in his search for a second major title.

The Yorkshireman broke his duck at last year's US Open, 25/1 To Win Outright in 2023, and kicked off his 2023 Major campaign with a T10 at this month's US Masters.

Sunday's success ahead of a strong field at Harbour Town was another example of him keeping his head under pressure, overcoming reigning champion Jordan Spieth at the third play-off hole.

More magic from Matt

It was a pulsating Sunday in South Carolina, as overnight leader Fitzpatrick and Spieth traded the lead, with the Yorkshireman making birdies at the 15th and 16th to card a 68 and join his rival on 17-under.

Spieth made a fast start on Sunday with a birdie at the first and picked up three more strokes to reach the turn in 32. Two more birdies and a bogey saw him sign for a 66.

The joint-overnight leader Patrick Cantlay endured a frustrating afternoon, falling out of contention courtesy of bogeys at the 13th and 14th - finishing a shot off the pace.

The tournament went to a play-off for the second year in a row. Spieth beat Cantlay 12 months ago and this time around went into battle against Fitzpatrick.

There was nothing to separate the pair over the first two holes but the Yorkshireman made the decisive move as the pair went up the 18th for the third time on Sunday, firing a nine-iron to mere inches.

Spieth could only put his approach to 40 feet and, after seeing the Texan miss his attempt, the world number eight tapped home for his first regular PGA Tour win.

Speaking to Sky Sports Golf, while wearing the traditional tartan jacket awarded to the winner of the RBC Heritage, the champion praised himself for remaining patient, and added: "Of every single one on the calendar, this is the one I wanted to win the most."

Fitzpatrick stands up to scrutiny

Sunday was another example of Fitzpatrick keeping his nerve under pressure and his comments about not pressing the panic button when Spieth was on the march show that keeping his cool is something the 28-year-old has worked on.

Such self-control is vital at the Majors when a golfer's game is pushed to its limits. That was in evidence last June at Brookline, where he carded rounds of 68-70-68-68 to finish a shot clear of Scottie Scheffler and Will Zalatoris.

The moment of the tournament came on the 18th on Sunday when he fired a three-wood into a fairway bunker. However, rather than compound the error, he clipped his approach over the grass island in the middle of the trap to 20 feet and calmly two-putted to seal a par.

Such composure could stand him in good stead at next month's PGA Championship at Oak Hill. Fitzpatrick is 28/1 to win the tournament, which takes place between Thursday 18th and Sunday 21st May, and can be followed on bet365's Live Golf Tracker.

He will then head to Los Angeles Country Club to defend his US Open crown and may also have an eye on the Open, with him 25/1 to triumph at Royal Liverpool.

A Major contender

Fitzpatrick's Major record from the start of 2022 to now reads T14-T5-1-T21-T10 and shows he knows how to tailor his game to ensure he is at his best when it matters most, arguably something he demonstrated by winning on Sunday, seven days after a strong showing at Augusta.

bet365 are offering several Specials on the 2013 US Amateur champion to add to his Major tally in 2023. He is 10/1 To Win a Major, 200/1 to win 2+ Majors in 2023 and 1500/1 to claim the three remaining big ones this year.

Having comfortably made the weekend at Augusta, he is 1/2 To Make Cut in all 4 Majors and 22/1 for Top 10 in all 4 Majors Inc. Ties.

Doing this could also help Team Europe at September's Ryder Cup, with Luke Donald's side 15/8 to regain the trophy.

Despite being just a week after the Masters, the RBC Heritage has always been seen as one of the elite events on the PGA Tour, hence Fitzpatrick's post-tournament comments.

After beating a fine field, including the world numbers one and two in Jon Rahm and Scheffler, he has once again proved he belongs among the elite.

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